Originally from Tauranga Moana, Puawai Cairns works with lots of different communities around Aotearoa to present their own mātauranga Māori at the national museum. She will be sharing some of the stories she has encountered on multiple projects and exhibitions that have explored the multiple facets of the mauri concept, where she has learned that for as much as you learn about mauri, there will always more to understand and explore.
Puawai is specialized in contemporary Māori social history, and advocates community-centred curatorial practice, and has advised multiple museum projects, nationally and internationally. She has worked as a curator on exhibitions such as Gallipoli: the scale of our war and Ko Rongowhakaata: the story of light and shadow. She has a particular interest in increasing and enhancing Māori representation and participation across the heritage sector. Puawai is also a board member for Atamira Dance Company, Pantograph Punch, and the New Zealand National Army Museum.